Sans Amity, No Truth or Justice

Preston King

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King, P. (2018) Sans Amity, No Truth or Justice. AMITY: The Journal of Friendship Studies, 5:1, pp. 1-26. doi: 10.5518/AMITY/24

Abstract

Truth is often conceived as a cause of social bonding. Persons so bound may qualify as truth-holders (TH) or truth-seekers (TS). But neither TH nor TS are bound by truth. For neither possession of truth, nor its common pursuit, is per se a bond. (I) TH are of opinion they know some p is true. Suppose TH1 & TH2, from diverging perspectives, coincide in this. That these judgments coincide is (a) similitude of opinion, not (b) joint action. Similitude of outlook (opinion) is distinct from deliberate accord (bond). One just happens (‘is’), the other is willed and embraced (‘ought’). Suppose A & B share the correct view that McGee is being judicially killed (lynched). Imagine A as executioner, and McGee as executee. That A & B share this or any belief does not turn them into a team. (II) TS think they do not know if p is true, and commit to seek truth by reason of not having it. It follows that TS1 & TS2 cannot know what they pursue, who else is in pursuit, or by what bonds (if any) pursuers are bound. If TS bind themselves one to another, that is a distinct moral act. But a particular truth cannot cause them to bond where they are entirely ignorant of what this truth is. Social justice, should it exist, is grounded in a minimal, even primal, foundation, one of mutual affection among fellow creatures. It is not grounded in an abstract love of truth, whether the latter is sought, or supposedly already known.

Keywords: Truth; Justice; Amity; Knowledge; Friendship; Discourse

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